tv Democracy Now LINKTV March 26, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
03/26/12 03/26/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> i support the 2005 palestinian -- call to boycott and tell equal rights for palestinians inside israel and provide right return for palestinian refugees. >> i do not support the boycott of israeli products. if you believe in helping the palestinian people, it will not
do this. >> the israel-palestine conflict of rights the park slope food co-op and brooklyn, new york, one of the oldest and largest in the country. as a vote on whether to hold a referendum to boycott israeli goods, we hosted debate between dr. mustafa barghouti, secretary-general of the initiative, and rabbi arthur waskow. we continue our conversation with one of the whistleblower is targeted by the obama administration. former nsa employee thomas drake. >> and the first to a knowledge there are secrets that must be protected, but not when it comes to government wrongdoing and illegalities and when they are endangering the safety of our own country. >> it was thick with his attorney, jesselyn radack, former ethics advisor to the justice department did all of that and more coming up. --all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and
peace report. i'm amy goodman. the supreme court will begin hearing oral arguments today on the constitutionality of the affordable care act, the landmark health care reform bill some of president obama two years ago. part of the case will focus on the so-called individual mandate, the part the recall that requires most people purchase health entrance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty. the supreme court is expected to hear six hours of oral arguments spread over three days. it will be the longest argument heard by the court in almost 45 years. the case is expected that huge implications for the nation in the 2012 elections. attorney tom goldstein is publisher of the widely read scotus blog. >> we have a mass of constitutional question about something that affects every single american. it is all wrapped up in one case in the run-up to the presidential election. i don't think anyone really
knows how it will play out politically. we know it will get a lot of political attention. the court will decide the case in late june as the fight between president obama unlikely nominee mitt romney will really be engaging. >> the supreme court decision is being closely followed by many who could benefit from the law. robyn martin is the mother of a seven-month old son who suffers from serious heart condition. >> we need the supreme court to uphold the affordable care act because we need this little boy to continue to have health care without having to worry about hitting a limit, without having to add up to visit to see how close we come to the limit. >> jesse jackson and al sharpton will be in sanford, florida for a town hall meeting about the death of trayvon martin. a 17-year-old african-american, martin was shot dead while walking in a gated community last month.
he was unarmed. the shooter, george zimmerman, has not been arrested or charged. on sunday, jackson characterized martin's death as a transformative event reminiscent of the killings of emmett till in the 1955 and mississippi civil rights activist medgar evers in 1963. >> trayvon is a martyr. he is not coming back. he was murdered. we want to eliminate the darkness -- illuminate the darkness the comes from the death of a martyr. >> i think we'll have to do some soul-searching. we need to examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident. but my main message is to the
parents of trayvon martin. if i had a son, he would look like trayvon. i think they're right to expect that all of us as americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we will get to the bottom of what happened. >> on the campaign trail, republican presidential challengers newt gingrich and rick santorum criticized obama's statement. gingrich said -- protests continue across the country to call for the rest of the man who shot trayvon martin. marsha adebayo attended a rally in washington, d.c. >> my son was stopped 20 times in mind -- in one month when he was 18 years old every mother
with a black son has a story like mine. this war against black men in this country needs to be stopped. >> the senegalese president abdoulaye wade has conceded defeat after losing a presidential runoff to macky sall. the 85-year-old wade had ruled for 12 years. his decision to seek a third term set off nationwide protests. sall is a former prime minister of senegal who split from wade in 2008. >> the size of this victory but the vote of the people shows the and its expectation of the population -- the emits expectation of the population. i am taking all measures denies a new era can commence for senegal. >> and afghanistan, a gunman wearing an afghan army uniform killed two of nato troops in southern afghanistan today.
an official told the bbc the attacker was an afghan soldier. u.s. officials have paid out a total of $866,000 in compensation to the family members of the victims of the massacre in kandahar province. $46,000 was paid out for each of 16 people killed as well as for an unborn baby who died. six afghans wounded in the attack received $11,000 each. earlier today, the wife of the accused gunman, staff sergeant robert bales, appeared on nbc's "the today show." karilyn bales says she finds accusations that her husband killed 17 afghan villagers unbelievable. she said, "i just don't think he was involved." u.s. military has reportedly decided not to charge or discipline its officers who bombed the pakistani military outpost in november, killing 24 pakistani troops. the u.s. military reportedly blames the airstrike on
"battlefield confusion." kofi annan is expected to had to china today after asking russia to back his mission to end fighting in syria. russia said its mission could be the last chance to avoid a protracted and bloody civil war. the u.s. and turkish governments have discussed sending non- lethal aid to the syrian opposition, a move that represent an incremental change in u.s. policy. pope benedict is headed to cuba where he's expected to celebrate mass in santiago, the city consider the cradle of the cuban revolution. he wrapped up a trip to mexico where some protesters criticized the catholic church's stance on women's issues and reproductive rights. >> the catholic church has millions and millions of dollars in their backs and make it richer every day with a false sense of morality. they accuse women have abortion and tolerate priests who rape and commit acts of pedophilia. in reality, they're very hypocritical. i am against someone else
deciding what to do with my body. we're here to demand our right to choose. >> president obama has nominated dartmouth president jim kim to become the next president of the world bank. kim co-founded partners in health with dr. paul farmer and is well known among development experts for his work in fighting hiv/aids. president obama announced kim's nomination on friday. >> i believe that nobody is more qualified to carry out the mission then dr. jim kim. it is time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency. that is why today after a careful and thorough search, i am nominating dr. jim kim to be the next president of the world bank. >> washington's hold on the world bank presidency is being contested for the first-time candidates from africa and south america. the nigerian finance minister and the former colombian finance minister have also been
nominated for the post. in campaign news, rick santorum easily won the louisiana republican presidential primary on saturday, but still trails mitt romney by wide margin in the national delegate count for the party nomination. a new expose by the associated press has revealed undercover new york police department officers attended meetings of liberal, political organizations and kept intelligence files on activists who planned protests around the u.s.. in one instance, an undercover nypd officer traveled to new orleans to attend the 2008 people's summit. two activists, one a journalist and one of labor organizer for housekeepers and nannies, were mentioned by name in one of the police intelligence reports. the presidents of guatemala, panama, and goes to recommit saturday in a regional summit to
discuss essentially ending the so-called war on drugs by legalizing or decriminalizing drug use in trade. the guatemalan president hosted the summit. >> what is happening to us since we're not producers or among the major consumers is that we in the middle are countries that need to confront the problem of drug transit. so that is why we talked about the decriminalization of drug transportation and this needs to be discussed carefully, like all other proposals we are considering. they are not matters where in just one day or one session we could come to a conclusion. >> a 32-year-old iraqi-born woman died in california saturday just days after she was brutally beaten. shaima alawadi was found wednesday lying in a pool of blood in her home next to a note saying, "go back to your country." she was the mother of five children ranging in age from eight to 17.
her daughter spoke to the news media after the beating. >> i mean, we are speechless, you know? she is such an innocent woman. why? she is a housewife. she is innocent. she has not hurt anybody. she is a mother of five. why did you do it? i found her on the floor, drowned in her own blood with a letter next to her head saying, "go back to your country, terrorist." we are not the terrorists. you are, whoever did it. >> a federal judge has ruled the environmental protection agency overstepped its authority when it revoked a permit for one of the nation's largest mountaintop removal coal mines. 14 months ago, the epa said arch colts' no. 1 mine in west virginia would "use destructive and unsustainable practices that jeopardize the health of appalachian communities and the clean water on which they depend."
the judge declared the permit was valid, paving the way for mining project covering nearly 2,300 acres to go forward. in york city, a police detective has been fired and three other members of the to permit forced to retire for their roles in the shooting of sean bell. the unarmed african-american man who died in a hail of bullets after his bachelor party in 2006. and those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the global issue of israel- palestine is being played out of the committee level in brooklyn, new york. a vote is set tuesday at the park slope food co-op to decide whether to hold a referendum on boycotting goods from israel to protest the israeli government's policies toward palestinians. the debate has divided many in the co-op. the turnout is expected to be so large that organizers have shifted the meeting from its usual location which
accommodates 350 people to a venue that can hold about 3000. the attempt of a boycott is part of an international advocacy effort called the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, or bds for short. it is inspired by the international boycott movement against apartheid south africa. in a struggle to abolish apartheid, a coalition of palestinian civil society groups called for people all over the world to engage in a non-violent campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction israel until it complies with international law. much like the israel-palestine issue globally, members of the park slope food co-op have conflicting views on the boycott at home. "democracy now!" spoke to members of the co-op last night. >> i support the 2005 palestinian civil society call for a boycott and divestment and sanctions of israel until -- and the occupation, people opportunities, provide it right
of return for palestinian refugees. it is part of an international movement. i support that movement. i think where we get our food is extremely political. >> i do not support the boycott of israel it products. if you really believe in helping the palestinian people, this is not going to do this. it could potentially hurt the palestinians and the work potential. i think if we want to stand up and say we want peace, then we should make a statement about pushing for there to be better talks. i think we ought to decide what our real intent is but is it anti-israel or pro-peace? >> jessica rosenberg and linda katz, members of the park slope food co-op speaking to "democracy now!" last night. we will host a debate on the bds movement. dr. mustafa barghouti is joining us from washington, d.c., supporting the movement. he is a member of the
palestinian parliament, secretary-general of the palestinian national initiative. he was also a presidential candidate and in the 2005 elections. rabbi arthur waskow is opposed to bds. he is founder and director of the shalom center in philadelphia. we welcome you both. professor, start by explaining what bds is and why you think this boat in brooklyn, new york is so important. >> bds is part of a larger movement of nonviolent resistance and palestine. it is very similar to the civil actions in several activities that were led by martin luther king in the u.s. against segregation. it is very similar to what ghandi led in inda. we have a situation of apartheid and segregation and occupation
that is become the longest in modern history. the segregation is destroying our life. the so-called peace talks have become a peace process that is a substitute to peace. it is not producing any results and has become a cover for israeli expansion settlement activity. there have been a number of talks. as long as there are no balance between sides, no change in the balance of power. the whole non-violent movement is about changing the balance, about producing a new situation which would allow peace to take place. bds is one of international solidarity with the palestinian people as was the case with the struggle of people of south africa. it is peaceful.
it is not against israel as it is israeli apartheid and occupation and segregation. at the end of the day, we believe this campaign is for the sake of both palestinians and the israelis, because it would help us the bird ourselves from the occupation. it would help relieve ourselves from the occupation. they can help change the in the state's policies as has happened in the case of the struggle of the people of south africa against apartheid systems. >> rabbi arthur waskow, founder and director of the shalom center in philadelphia, why are you opposed to bds? >> first, let me say, shalom, peace to you and dr. mustafa barghouti.
i want to say, you are a respected, important, and creative leader in the palestinian people, dr. mustafa barghouti. i think the bds movement, as it is presently shaped and framed, is a mistake. it targets of the israeli society, which is not a way of enacting and the present, a future, as i know you have e too believe, there should be a to- based solution. you mentioned dr. king. even when dr. king clearly, publicly, vigorously oppose the vietnam war, he did not call for a boycott of all american products and producers. he did not do that in europe or the united states. he targeted where he was aiming. i think bds, as presently
framed, does not target. i, myself, do not purchase products made by, produced by israeli settlers on the west bank. i encourage others not to do that. but that is a laser beam with pride. that is a boycott of the oppressive acts of the israeli government and of settlers on the west bank. it is not a demonization of israeli society as a whole. it seems to me that the present framing have bds, that it aims at all israeli institutions and processes and products. and it talks about not only in the occupation, but, for example, it seems to be talking about the return of millions of
descendants, families, of refugees to within the legitimate boundaries of israel. i think that's adds up to an attack on illegitimacy of israel as a whole. you may not intend that, and i know you have called for a two- state solution, but the result of the way bds is framed on almost everyone i have talked to who feels attracted to it is that society as well as the government of israel is wrong, and must be attacked. i think, even using methods that are not our right violence, is not a non-pilot approach. >> we will take a break and come back to this discussion. rabbi arthur waskow and dr.
mustafa barghouti are our guests. we will be back in 30 seconds. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break] >> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. our guests are dr. mustafa barghouti who is in washington, d.c. right now rabbi arthur waskow is in philadelphia.
i want ask dr. mustafa barghouti about the palestinian hunger striker, on hunger strike for 39 days. the israeli military court rejected her appeal this past week ended shoe is detained february 16. she was initially held for 6 -- reportedly to be held for six months. the israeli army has said the 30-year-old is a global jihad affiliated operative and rearrested. the specific allegations have been made public. dr. mustafa barghouti, can you talk about her case and now compares to the international outcry around khader adnan, who is also on hunger strike for some 66 days. ultimately, the government agreed to free him in mid april. >> the case is an example of
the what palestinians are subjected to. according to the increment, the israeli army had no right to read arrest her again. she was rearrested. there were no specific charges against her. shoot was put under [unintelligible] which is a regulation that is used from the old laws that have been canceled in britain. this law allows them to rest any palestinian for unlimited amount of time without charges -- to arrest any palestinian for unlimited amount of time without charges. hana shalabi decided to challenge the regulation by going into one of the most peaceful acts that to be done,
which is under strike. khader adnan was on hunger strike for 66 days. hana shalabi is on her 40th day. her health is very fragile and she could die any day. the government is refusing to release her. they're continuing to violate international law by holding her. i think what we need is a very strong solidarity with hana shalabi to save her life. if you allow me, i want to respond to some of the issues that's rabbi arthur waskow mansion. i respect him read i thank him for his good intentions. but let me say that when he
speaks about boycotting some of products only, let me tell him that this is a very difficult thing to do. it is not possible anymore to differentiate between supplement products and usual israeli products. the settlers in the israeli government are recycling the products within the israeli compound read you cannot differentiate between some of products and israeli products. what we're doing is -- those who delegitimize israel are conducting the process up apartheid. it is the longest military occupation in human history. those are the ones that are delegitimizing israel. we need to be effective.
the boycott divestment sanctioned campaign is nonviolent resistance and part of making this nonviolent resistance effective. at the end of the day, if we do not change the balance of power on the ground, nothing will change. what we hope for is that people will understand, especially people like rabbi arthur waskow who is supporting peace, that time has come to pressure israel. in front of our eyes, israeli is continuing to kill the two-state solution. we have to be effective. that is why this becomes an important international instrument, side by side with the palestinian nonviolent resistance, which is growing everywhere. >> rabbi arthur waskow, if you could respond? and would you describe israeli policies in the palestinian
territories as apartheid, similar to the system in apartheid south africa? >> in the occupied territories, the israeli;s government's policies are discussing. i want to point out, two hunger strikes were pointed like laser beams at a very particular, disgusting and vile behavior of the israeli government. they were not directed at all of the israeli society. i think the hunters strikes, and that they were, like a laser beam, but the illegitimate detention and a legitimate occupation, they are praiseworthy. they were not directed against all of israeli society.
as for the effectiveness, i am sorry to say that i think no matter whether the boy cuts would be directed like laser beams or broader, and none of them are going to be effective. there is only one center of power capable of changing the israeli government's behavior by appealing to the desires of the israeli people. and that is the government of the united states, which has utterly failed for the last three and half years to do what many of us hoped, to have said -- this is not acceptable. the arab league's proposal for a full peace treaty, a region-wide peace treaty israel, with palestinian state on the west
bank, gaza, an east tours along, that is a policy of decent piece. the united states government has not insisted to the israeli government that it will bring this about to, that it will insist on this happening. i anders and why the president of the nine states might be -- i understand why the president of the united states might be hesitant. perhaps after the next election, it will be possible for the next president of the united states to say -- this does not go. there has to be an independent palestinian state and peace alongside israel in exchange for which israel gets peace and security with all its neighbors. it probably has to be expanded to include iran as well as the
arab states. but that is what the effectiveness would be. i ask you to imagine, dr. mustafa barghouti, please imagine not the presbyterian church, the episcopal church, etc. in the united states are wiggling on the edge of supporting bds. but imagine they decided that every presbyterian and episcopalian church in the united states were in the next year going to bring in israeli and palestinian to talk about support, call for american support for the geneva initiative for a two-day solution. >> i'm going to give each one minute critics and speaking to gather in churches throughout the united states and demanding the american government, the government of the united states change its policies. >> rabbi arthur waskow -- i'm
going to give you each a chance to speak. >> i want to say that it is very clear that if the minister its changes policy, we would be in good shape, but -- if the united states changed policy, we would be good shape. but it is not. we have to change the situation from the grass roots. i remember a time four years ago when i was speaking and some mention the united states policy. i reminded them for years ago, nelson mandela was the most respected leader in the world where every american president wanted to have an opportunity with, at that time, mr. mandela was still on the terrorist list of american congress. it changed only after that. we need to create a strong,
powerful international movement here in the united states and other places in europe. we need to change people, then parliament, then the government will change. i am sure of one thing. one day the palestinians will be free of this apartheid system. we're doing it through nonviolent resistance. one day we can have peace based on imposed agreements like oslo, but based on peace and coexistence and mutual respect and respecting the palestinian'' rights to freedom, dignity, and an end of this terrible segregation system. >> rabbi arthur waskow? >> i totally agree there needs to be a grassroots movement. i just described one rooted in the churches where a grassroots movement would, in fact, change u.s. government policy. i think there needs to be an alliance among the majority of american jews who supported
tuesday's solution, regardless of the top down institutions that will not act in favor of it, even if they say they are for it. and an alliance, a coalition with christians who support that and with muslims who support that. and abrahamic alliance inside the u.s., demanding change by the united states government at the grass roots, that is a grassroots movement. i think that is the only thing that will make a difference. in terms of bds, irish dr. mustafa barghouti to rethink the whole realistic critiqued attack on israeli society as a whole rather than focusing like a laser beam on the occupation. >> it is not against the israeli
side, it is against the apartheid. >> it would say it would end -- as of now, that means to change. >> let me get in the last point bridge time is up but i would ask the question of dr. mustafa barghouti, saying it would say that it would end when the occupation ends, the bds movement? >> of course. the bds is not -- it is about ending segregation, daring team the palestinian rights. >> we have to leave it there. >> let me and again by saying, shalom. adding, the farsi word for peace.
>> thank you very much, rabbi arthur waskow of the shalom center and dr. mustafa barghouti, member of the palestinian parliament. the park slope food co-op vote is set for tuesday evening to decide whether to hold a referendum on boycotting goods from israel, to protest the policies toward palestinians. there are more than 15,000 members of the park slope food co-op. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. it has been moved to brooklyn tech from seating around 3000 people. we will be back in 15 seconds to talk about whistleblowers in the united states. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to whistle-blowers and the unprecedented attack they've come under during the obama administration. invoking the as the nosh act of 1917, the administration has pressed criminal charges against no fewer than six government employees, more than all previous demonstrations combine. last we spoke to one of the country's most well-known whistle-blowers, thomas drake, who is targeted after challenging mismanagement ways and constitutional violations at the national security agency. the top-secret agency that is a number of times larger than the cia. he was one of several sources for an article about a $1.2 billion nsa experimental program called trailblazer, to sift
through electronic communications for national security threats. as a result, he faced a 35 years in prison for charges under the espionage act, the was never action accused of spying. the case in the last year and a misdemeanor plea deal. today we aired the second part of our discussion on thomas drake and his attorney,, currently director of national security and human rights at the government accountability project. her new book is called, "traitor: the whistleblower and the american taliban." >> in fact, he said whistleblowers were courageous and patriotic, yet he has led an unprecedented war on whistleblowers and while whistleblowers have always been retaliated against and harassed unmercifully under prior
administrations, this is the first demonstration to actually start indicting them and doing so under the heavy handed espionage act, which could land them in jail for the rest of their lives. there are six such prosecutions going on right now of people who revealed information that exposed fraud, waste, abuse, illegality and danger in public health and safety. thomas drake was the first person among that recent spate of crackdown prosecutions. >> thomas drake, in a nutshell, your case, explain what happened, what you did, how you became a whistleblower and what happened to you. >> i originally made contact with congressional staffers. during the late 1990's, regarding nsa's massive fraud abuse on certain contracts.
in essence, there were pre- existing means by which i was informing congress about what was going on at nsa. in 2001, after 9/11 is when i found out the nsa was in abject violation of the first commandment at nsa, which was, you do not spy on americans without a warrant. as was pointed out in your earlier segment, significant abuse in the 1960's and 1970's under programs where they were actually in violation without -- the were in violation of the for the met rights. political dissidts, journalists not liked by administrations, antiwar activists were being spied upon on a routine basis by the intelligence agencies, including the nsa inside the usa
you had watergate, hearings, basically the nixon administration, whatever the president says is legal. never would i have imagined that would have come full flower post 9/11, in fact, makes that a whole era of the nixon administration look like pikers. because of where i was, and people coming to me privately with concerns about what we were doing spying on americans. we have a puerto rico to in secret with the probable cause evidence, yet now we're tossing it overboard and treating our own country the equivalent of a four nation for the purpose of dragnet electronic surveillance. and so you had that combined with a massive infusion of billions of dollars, basically, congress was writing blank checks to nsa. i remember being in meetings where they would say, how big to you wanted? house in the one it?
there were just going to write the check. the very thing that eisenhower had warned us about during his farewell address. i became part of the department of defense inspector general audit investigation. i was one of the unnamed senior officials and a hotline complaint and was given to the dodig in september 2002, pointing out the vast waste and fraud being committed by the program called trailblazer, which at the time was under hayden's direction and have become the flagship program for how the nsa was going to meet the demands and challenges of the digital age. >> thomas drake, can you talk about what happened to your life as she blew the whistle on fraud, mismanagement, and what you consider the evisceration of the first amendment, the spying on american citizens? >> by life was turned upside
down personally and professionally. and even had close colleagues and friends who listened to me in horror of what i went three for the a number of years. >> how many years? >> there's this multi-year, multibillion-dollar national security investigation launched in late december 2005. they went with extreme vengeance looking for whoever leaked or was the source for the article. >> by the way, they're still being investigated? >> james verizon, in particular, is part of the jeffrey sterling case. interestingly, it is the same prosecution as my case. in terms of my life been turned upside down, when they launched the multi-million dollar, multi-year investigation, there
was concern because it caused quite a stir. people within and as i said, what are we doing? this investigation, as it turns out, and called 25 full-time agents. -- included 25 full-time agents. because there was a limited amount of people that knew about the program which was in wired magazine, a very few people knew about that program. it was only whispered in the halls of the nsa. it was super top secret. it was not mentioned at all, even within the nsa. it was that sensitive. the number of people were in that program were quite small. what started happening, and the short weeks right after 9/11, from the first trick in october
when i found out about this program approved by the white house and the nsa to become executive agent, i was really warned about not ask any more questions. >> explain. >> stellar wind was this dragnet electronic surveillance program. it grew by leaps and bounds. when the patriot act was passed in october, and congress, the nsa was already in violation of the patriot act. we are talking -- the exclusive means -- it is critical to note the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance could take place against u.s. persons, which is resident aliens, u.s. corporations and u.s. citizens, it had to be done under the auspices of -- and had to be with a warrant. although there were certain conditions. good to hot pursuit and other,
but those were time constraint. if you violated fisa, there were criminal sanctions. we're talking thousands of dollars for each incident. what the and as they chose to do in concert with the white house and the white house approval was to simply up and that legal regime, in itself, was a compromise handed out under the carter administration based on previous abuses in the previous two decades. tossing out 23 years under the excuse of 9/11, giving the nsa such a blanket access to all available electronic records both to allege any or they could find it, what appear internally is we just need to get it approved we do not know the threat or were they to be hiding, and if it means bypassing the rights of americans, so be it. was it is most importance
securing the country, so who cares about our liberties? this will have to take a back seat for now. i remember saying, if that is so, then why do we changed along? there's a legal means by which to change the law. that means it is through congress. you can modify the law. it has been modified five times since 1978 critics for intelligence surveillance act. >> yes. i ask the question to the most senior people at the nsa and i'm was told, congress will say no. why would they say no? 9/11 just happen. hayden was going on now about wanting to make americans feel safe again. yes, they entered into the secret agreement in the first week of october. the authorize the nsa to treat the united states of america as the equivalent of a foreign nation for the purpose of electronic surveillance.
i knew when i had that conversation that told me in writing that had gone with a different solution -- >> the top person at the nsa. >> she was also my immediate supervisor. she demurred. that was the moment i knew the nsa crossed the rubicon. it was the moment i knew the servants source was out of the barn. it was made explicitly clear to me by the office of general counsel of this program was authorized by the white house. the nsa was executive agent for this program. it was all legal and do not pursue this any further. >> as far as you know, it is still under way. >> yes. if you follow the trail in terms of the legal obligations, a complaint congress -- this is another dynamic.
a very compliant congress with regard to national-security. vast streams of money being pumped into the same time. the budget of the nsa doubled and about 12 to 18 months. it began after the revelation of the so-called warrantless wiretapping program. in a new york times article, you ended up having legislation sponsored by the executive branch and being passed by congress to essentially make what had been illegal legal. so you have the patriot act, to protect america act, even of having the fisa act in 2008, the immunity was granted to into communities. the program finally involves the most major of our telecommunications companies within the u.s. >> for quite a time, senators wind in as well as -said- tatars
from oregon and colorado have been raising questions about the usa patriot act. they have said americans would be stunned to know what the government thought the patriot act was allowed to do. they made their remarks in a letter to attorney general eric holder. they seemed constrained the economics and say what they know. jesselyn radack, what is it they are warning? >> we have met with them and we have briefed them including was a blowers along with tom drake at the nsa. with their informed speculation of what some of the secret interpretations might be. i do think they're signalling very strongly -- i mean, this is where we need a whistleblower.
yet, we have seen what happens in terms of tom drake being -- to try to be prosecuted and the others all been targeted. here they are again coming forward in wired magazine. on your show today. america owes them a huge debt of gratitude. we need more people to come forward, a lot of people know what they're talking about. >> what is it they're talking about? >> i will let tom >> it is pretty clear. section 215, the secret interpretation. basically, grants the government access to all business records. subscriber information, phone records. under it section 215, the cover , a blanket access to all
those records. in essence, those companies are essentially forced under the rubric in the rules of national security and monitoring and looking for threats, we need you to give access and/or turn over your records. >> what was the justification for that? white business? >> there's a personal amount of private information held by businesses. you think about our lives in the digital age. you name it. your phone records, internet thatte carterproviders, any bus would hold information about individuals. >> and libraries and bookstores. >> any and all the electronic transactions. the crucial and sinister thing about this, we have this very large data center being built in utah -- and that has been in progress for many years. i heard many years ago that we need a place to store it. one of the things that was kind
of funny, they had hard drives and the strides, storing and wherever they could because they're running out of room. it was never a problem with collecting the data. the problem is the amount of data being collected. the nsa essentially wanting it all just so they did not miss anything is vastly larger than the amount of data they used to deal with in the cold war scenario. they were not structured to deal with this type of information. orders of magnitude higher than what you're about megabytes and gigabytes. that.goes well beyond criti it is basically the way to measure digital data. >> and this is one of the largest it is centers being built in utah. >> it is button-down to a
terabyte of information, is 1,000 gigabytes -- we're talking thousands of gigabytes. it is not uncommon to have a large amount on home computers. you can put 1 terabyte of information on the flash drive. you can imagine the amount of data that will be stored. what can you do with all that data? >> who is going to go through all of that? >> as james mentioned, it becomes nsa's clown. the of high-speed networks to connect with other places. they can access it to figure out what is going on through a data mine. but think about what else is possible and what is actual. if you have that much data on that many people, the ability to be of a target anyone anywhere
and anytime now raises the orwellian specter of what can they do in assembling information, the vast amounts of information on any one particular person critics the jeffrey sterling case, explain that case. >> is a former cia officer who also has been charged under the espionage act, allegedly, for providing information that formed a chapter in james rise in passbook "state of war. here we are in 2012, the years long delay, and in this case, they have taken the step they did not in thomas where they're going after the reporter. twice under bush, james risen was subpoenaed. then bush subpoenaed him for a
third time. interestingly, risen provided an affidavit saying he learned from people who appeared before the grand jury that the government had obtained records of his conversations with sources, which is so dangerous. in terms of sterling himself and what he actually did, what he allegedly revealed was bad week gave iran nuclear information, but it was a ruse. it had a defect in and. but it turns out, in fact, the defect in the new could design information was so obvious that the iranians detected it immediately. we ended up turning over legitimate nuclear information. that is surely a public interest. >> about the u.s. giving nuclear-weapons intelligence to
the iranians. >> yes. that was a ruse. they are going to give that information, but put in a design flaw so it would be like giving false information. but the design flaw was so obvious that the iranians detected it. and in the process, and actually ended up turning over a legitimate nuclear design affirmation. >> and when was this? >> risen wrote about it in 2006. it was part of a program called merlin. as we march off to war with iran right now, clearly, it is in the public interest to know if the u.s. accidentally in a botched program provided the iranians with nuclear information. that is something that is legitimate whistleblowing, whether sterling calls it was a line or not.
it fits the legal definition of whistleblowing. i do not know if sterling did this or not. even if he did what they say he did, it revealed a violation of abuse, waste of money, and a big mistake. >> jesselyn radack, the lawyer of thomas' straight, a whistle- blower herself. she's written a new book called, "traitor: the whistleblower and the american taliban." thomas drake is a whistleblower who was prosecuted by the obama administration and. matthew miller now says the case may have been a "bill considered choice for prosecution." drake faces 35 years in jail. the case ended last year and a misdemeanor plea deal. that is today's broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to